Thursday, August 18, 2011

Trip report: Rondane - Day 1

Up Glitterdalen (Glitra valley) and over Flatfjellet (Flat mountain)

View Rondane 2011 - Day 1 in a larger map

Distance: 13.0 km
Ascent: 581 m
Shoes wet: 2 pairs

This day was a transport day more than anything. My father ferried us across Furusjøen to our starting point in Luseby. As soon as we were across and had left the quay behind we looked at each other thinking, "This is it, we're without our baby for 4 days..."

Ready to take to the trail
It was a very auspicious start, the sun was out, people were greeting us on the trail and the path was fairly good. Unfortunately the excellent path and the sunny weather did not last. Halfway up the valley the path started to get wetter and wetter. I was prancing around like a mountain goat, getting used to my new Gossamer Gear LT4's, trying not to get wet feet.  We'd hardly been walking an hour before I realized wet feet was something to get accustomed to as I knew I would. I was simply not used to it and for the entire trip I think I unnecessarily tried to avoid getting wet.

Halfway up the valley we stopped for lunch at Tverrhaugen (Cross hill), I refilled our water using my Aquaguard Eliminator water filter, which I've had for a while but not used in anger yet. The reason we chose to filter our water was because this year turned out to be a lemming year, with dead lemmings and droppings everywhere.

Not long after leaving Tverrhaugen we were approaching the tree line and the first drops of rain were streaking towards us. We stopped to answer the call of nature, put the pack covers on and get our matching Haglöfs Ozo's on. Not long after we get passed by a Norwegian couple in shorts. We'd started the day in trousers and as we got out of the valley and onto Flatfjellet we were glad we had. In the valley there was the low shrub that we wanted to avoid, while up on the moor there was a cold wind that was kept off our thighs.

Above the tree line

In my mind there was a vague recollection from when I was 15 of Flatfjellet being quite wet, and we soon found out how wet. The area is quite flat and the water drains quite slowly towards the valleys causing the occasional morass of knee deep (or on one occasion deeeper) mossy bog. At one point Lande cries for help as she's slowly sinking past her knee and I wade over as fast as I can to help her get out. At this stage her boots were as wet as mine and I figure that on the whole trip her feet were probably as wet as mine. Her boots kept her dry longer being Gore-Tex, however mine dried faster being just mesh.

Heading towards the peaks

The last part of the path towards Rondvassbu is a supply road, and just as we got on it the weather started taking a turn for the worse. Unfortunately we weren't clever enough to see which way this was going and failed to put on our water proofs in time. As we were trudging along the road, greeting families of bikers coming the other way against the wind and with rain bucketing down, we got in view of Rondvassbu. We went  started heading straight towards our camp for the evening, but quickly realized that we were on the wrong side of a stream and that the rain was making it a bit swollen. To top this of Lande really doesn't like fording waters so we backed up and crossed a bridge further down. The water was still dropping out of the sky as out of a bucket and Lande was starting to get cold. We decided to cut our day short, an easy decision seeing as we'd be passing our approach to the mountain we'd be climbing the next day.

As we approached Fremre Illmanstjønne we started casting around for a good camp site, however there were no perfect spots and we settled for a previously used site on a very slight slope. I guess the rocks helped keep us in place to some degree, however we still had a tendency to slide to the bottom of the tent. As we finished setting up the excellent Scarp 2 the skies cleared and we got a bit of sun. This is the one and only time I dug out the heavy boots out of my pack, so that I could take the laces and set them up as a clothes line.

Dinner was Real Turmat, Cod pot for me (too much water) and Game pot for Lande (not enough water). We were both quite unimpressed by the flavours, I don't think we'll have either of those again... The lesson I learned was always measure the water. You just can't depend on the measuring line on the outside of the bag.

One major issue cropped up on this first night. I had planned to use my iPhone to stay in touch however keeping it in my breast pocket on the Ozo had been a bad idea. One of two things had happened. Either the membrane had been overwhelmed by the rain, or it had worked fine on the inside, pushing my sweat into the pocket. Bad design for a breast pocket. It seems like some dampness had hit the power switch and the phone kept trying to turn itself on and off constantly. Added to this was an issue with poor reception which caused the phone to switch between two providers, every time lighting up the screen and probably maximizing antenna usage. Only later did I realize I should have enabled flight mode...

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